April 29, 2020
I wanted to talk about this idea of self-compassion – to be able to say to people, ‘I’m okay’ or ‘I’m not okay; I’m struggling through this thing.’ When we are self-compassionate, we give ourselves a soft cushion for us to fall upon.
It’s okay, not to be okay.
According to Kristin Neff, a leading researcher in the area of self-compassion, here are the top three steps in becoming more compassionate to yourself;
1. Acknowledge your own suffering and what you are going through is hard.
When it comes to self-compassion, acknowledge when things are hard. We need to recognize that sometimes we also are going through something that is so hard. And so remember whatever suffering you have, acknowledge that this could be a hard time and take care of yourself.
Do some extra things like pampering, take some time off, meditate or talk to a friend. If you’re going through a challenging time, reach out and get professional help. It’s okay for you not to be okay and to acknowledge your suffering. So, if you need professional help, get professional help. But if you need a little bit of something to get you through it, friends can be a fantastic source of resilience and recovery for us.
2. Recognize that you are not alone.
The second component of self-compassion is to recognize that this is our human condition. It’s the first time in recent history that we’re all going through the same thing; we’re all facing this incredible challenge in the world. And somehow when we know that we are not alone, that other people are also feeling that sense of disappointment and sadness and frustration, that we say, well, you know what? I am not alone. If they can get through it, I can get through it too. So, to understand also that bad things happen to all of us and that we can get through these difficult times.
3. Be kind and say kind things to yourself.
The third component of self-compassion is to be kind to yourself. Say what your best friend would say to you and do it regularly. When you start to say harsh things to yourself, ask yourself, ‘what would my best friend say to me right now?’ and replace those harsh words with the words of your best, most compassionate friend. And when you do that, when you are the person who creates that soft cushion where you can fall, you become more self-reliant.
You’re not reliant on others to bring you that comfort. You rely on yourself. And when you rely on yourself, you build resilience. You build that strength because nobody needs to come along and save you at that time. You can do it for yourself. And again, if you need help, reaching out is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. It is a sign that you know yourself, that you are aware of yourself and that you’re going to do something because you deserve to get through this in a resilient and strong way.
And when you build those resilience skills, when you build that strength, guess what? You’re going to come out of this challenging time stronger, wiser, happier.
All of this is just training for a happier life.